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OnSwipe (scripting.com)
72 points by davewiner on June 27, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 47 comments



Fucking crimony do I hate OnSwipe. Loathe it. It's just such a waste. It looks stupid, its scrolling feels wrong and it presents everyone's content identically. It solves absolutely zero problems, creates new ones and is impossible to escape. (I have fantasized about creating a proxy at home to strip out its bullshit.)

The irony here being that the iPad is perfect for displaying very nearly everything on the web just as it already is. WordPress blogs look excellent on the iPad without any of this nonsense.

OnSwipe has become a perfect tool for preventing me from viewing content I'd otherwise happily read. This is a latter-day Expert Sexchange.

edit: ...odd, instant karma drop that affected everything I said on this page but this: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2700241

Learn from criticism, folks, don't downvote it because it doesn't agree with your world view. It's how we all grow.


What everyone should keep in mind here is that, at its core, OnSwipe is trying to be an ad network. See http://thenextweb.com/media/2011/06/21/an-inside-look-at-ons....

Also see http://blog.onswipe.com/news/the-road-ahead, written by OnSwipe's founder:

"Mary Meeker estimates that 50 billion dollars of traditional media spend needs to shift online. Our belief is that it’s in a holding pattern and can’t. There’s a disconnect between award winning beautiful ads found in print and tasteless spam ads that litter the web. We think touch enabled devices can let this change by providing advertising people actually enjoy with the best of the web layered on- mobile, local, social, and more. The touch enabled web can let us create ads publishers want alongside their content, advertisers get returns for, and most importantly, that users will enjoy."

<Start sarcasm>

Who wouldn't enjoy viewing award-winning print-like beautiful ads while browsing websites on the iPad ?

</End Sarcasm>

If you read the entire blog post above, it is quite obvious that the people behind OnSwipe don't really have a coherent understanding of publishing, advertising or digital, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that their product is an atrocity.

The product itself is little more than a trojan horse that OnSwipe uses to insert itself between stupid publishers and users so that it can extract value from content it didn't create and didn't add value to.

The good news is that this model inevitably fails and has since the late 1990s. There's no lock in for OnSwipe's partners, and once they realize that the ad revenue they were promised never materializes and their users hate the OnSwipe experience, they'll move on to the next company offering them a free bridge.


If you read the entire blog post above, it is quite obvious that the people behind OnSwipe don't really have a coherent understanding of publishing, advertising or digital, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that their product is an atrocity.

But onswipe doesn't happen on its own - someone integrates it in to the website. None of those people understand publishing either? It very well may be the case, and I think onswipe's problematic, but I don't think "they don't understand publishing" is necessarily a good charge.


I haven't yet hit OnSwipe on the iPad, but I experience similar frustration with WordPress's mobile theme on the iPhone. The text is harder to read than the 'normal' web site, and the text isn't zoomable, so there's no way to fix other than find the 'switch to normal version' button at the very bottom... every time.

When making a mobile version of content: first, do no harm!


I'm getting more and more annoyed by it on iPad. Besides the bad scrolling and the frequent failure of the option to view the standard site, it also frequently crashes the browser due to I'd guess excess memory use.

Do the individual WP blog owners actually chose to use it, or is it something WP foists on them?


Just a note about onswipe's Safari crashes: Excessive use of hardware accelerated CSS transformed elements (translate3d(0,0,0)) can use a lot of memory on iOS devices with a few known memory leaks in iOS WebKit (fixed in [REDACTED]). For production use of CSS transforms, developers have to carefully manage what is rendered with HW acceleration and balance that with UI glitches that can result.

I'm guessing that this is what's happening with OnSwipe browser crashes: reducing hardware accelerated elements would improve memory usage and reduce power consumption.


> fixed in [REDACTED]

Is that a joke? Or did you actually have to redact it?


Probably iOS5 NDA implied.


We here you and the new framework from Slate.com, Geek.com,etc. is going to be ported to WP. The biggest problem is the junk intertial scrolling we had to go with. That's gone. Check out the new framework and my guess is that you'll be very very pleasantly surprised.


Look, every interaction I've ever had with your product has been awful. Simply repugnant. Now, we all have a mission, and I don't begrudge you yours, and maybe making these obnoxious web wrappers will turn out to be the next big Amazon. I am wrong about so many things every day, it would shock me not at all to find out this is one more.

All I'm saying is this: You have a whole page full of comments here where people are talking about how much they don't like to use your product. Please create a global opt out for such folks, as has been described in a different thread. It really would improve my browsing experience on the iPad. I'm uncomfortable being in a position where I have to plead with someone to de-degrade my browsing experience, but here it is.


We think there's something new that can be done with the web on tablets. It's not for everyone.

That's a really reasonable piece of feedback and it makes enough sense to implement it on the WP.com version. Some people don't like it, a lot do, but that doesn't matter. Even if it's one person, they should have a choice. If you want to drop more in depth feedback, email me: j@onswipe.com

I will say, your comment above was way more effective than rude explicative ridden ones here and on Twitter. I understand you're upset, but keep in mind a lot of people have spent a lot of hard work on the product. I don't say this because it's my company. I'd say it if it was someone elses. We all work hard to make stuff and even if you absolutely hate it, a simple straight forward comment will go a long way and is way more human.


> a lot of people have spent a lot of hard work on the product.

I gotta tell you: this doesn't matter to me even a little bit.

Here's why.

We live in a world of results. Right now, you guys – I'm sorry this isn't positive – are making something that's frustrating, bad to use, unattractive and inescapable. The "view real, non-broken site" button often doesn't work. So somewhere, someone is fucking up my iPad and there's just nothing I can do about it.

You don't get to just come in and screw up the web for me without my having some strong feelings, dude, it's as simple as that. So if you want to shove a layer of non-useful junk into my way, you're going to need to acknowledge that there are user experience implications that require thorough thought.

If you ignore that you will incur the brand penalties associated with making people unhappy. And with a unanimous page of negative comments here, you're well on that road. This is a community that can't agree on anything, so I'd take this feedback very seriously.

If I make shit, I expect people to call me on it so I can make it better. How hard I've worked on it is irrelevant.


> a layer of non-useful junk

Agreed. What bugs me is that OnSwipe requires me to lay another layer over the article I'm attempting to read by filtering it through my Readability bookmarklet.

Frankly, I find it hard to understand how these OnSwipe deals get done.


Absolutely agree that people should be called out. It's about how you call someone out, not whether you do or not.


Yeah, you're definitely right. Understand, though, that I view OnSwipe like malware, so I didn't expect anyone associated with it to either see what I had to say or care. Even at that, you've created something so frustrating to me that even being face-to-face would not have stayed my impassioned rage, here.


I agree, but isn't ironic you promoted Onswipe by saying "Apps are bullshit" ? Ins't poetic justice / Karma that "rude explicative ridden" comments are now directed at you ?


> We think there's something new that can be done with the web on tablets. It's not for everyone.

Can you explain your reasoning on this? It seems like tablet manufactures are really trying to get the tablets to give the same browsing experience as a desktop, and this is working against that.


If it's not for everyone can you please give people who it isn't for an option to opt out of viewing it.


Jason, you guys are the market pioneers for this and therefore its going to be tough sledding as you figure out the perfect feature mix and implementation.

I commend you for taking this criticism in stride!


Can you please create a feature so that I can universally opt out of OnSwipe for all sites and have that feature work reliably? I actually want to see things like the site's blogroll, the design as the author intended, and so on.

(Edited to say that the slate.com site actually looks decent compared to the same site in Chrome on the desktop. Kudos on the clean implementation. It's the clunky, glitchy monstrosity that has infected WordPress sites that needs to be exorcised.)


I just had a look at the Slate.com site on my iPad and I really like it. Nice work. The "View Desktop Version" button should help those who prefer the native site.


WP.com turned it on by default for everyone.

I don't know if that was a good or bad deal for the OnSwipe team. I know that having my site switched over with no input pissed me off, and even though it was the fault of WP.com and not OnSwipe, I still assign some of the blame to OnSwipe and dislike them more than I rationally should.

At the same time, it was good exposure for them, so for all the people they pissed off, they've probably more than made up for it.


I hadn't run across OnSwipe yet on my iPad, but I went to slate.com and saw it. Not impressed and definitely not the browsing experience I want on my iPad. At least they put a link on the bottom to go to the normal desktop version. That should be the default, and someone should have to choose to go to the "enhanced" version.

Or, just make a native app for your website. People that want that kind of experience will seek it out. Most people just want the web, not a simplified version of it.

It'd also be great if OnSwipe had a global "opt out" so that your browser would _never_ get the dumbed down version if you set some flag telling them to go away.


> It'd also be great if OnSwipe had a global "opt out" so that your browser would _never_ get the dumbed down version if you set some flag telling them to go away.

This is the only humane option. There should be a way to escape this scourge.


I think OnSwipe is in for a lot of acrimony without this, especially from tech savvy users who might otherwise be promoters in some spaces. They'd have an easy defense of "if you don't like it, click this button and you're done". As it is, almost all stories are going to have 90% complaining about how much people dislike it (like this post).


That button is there and has always existed there.

For Wordpress, that might be a great idea of making it a global opt-out. I'm actually going to suggest that to the team there and on ours.


We have a native app that is similar in that it makes extensive use of css transforms to animate content on the iPad (Zite, btw. I believe it is smoother and less crashy than the OnSwipe pages I have seen).

The biggest issue we've come across is limiting the total screen area (in pixels) of elements having "-webkit-transform: translate3d(0,0,0);" (this is the declaration you use to force the browser to use 3d acceleration to animate this element). Once it goes beyond a certain size, there isn't enough memory on the iPad to handle it and you get jerky animation and crashes.

This will help:

http://mir.aculo.us/2011/02/08/visualizing-webkits-hardware-...


For another thing, on WordPress.com the "View Standard Site" button hardly ever works for me.

I keep on trying it, hoping for the better, and cursing every time I'm forced to deal with the OnSwipe theme.

And on Mike Taylor's blog (http://reprog.wordpress.com/), the scroll used to be broken in OnSwipe (it kept scrolling me back to the top). Not sure if it's still the case, these days I just keep to my feed reader instead of visiting his site because I don't want to deal with OnSwipe.


Thanks, I think that'll release a lot of the pressure that it sounds like you're getting from your other comments here. I think that trying new things is good, and I support that, but without an escape hatch some people are going to feel trapped.


I didn't like OnSwipe when I first saw it show up on a WP.com blog, and I still don't like it. It breaks a lot of functionality in MobileSafari, and half of the time the "View Standard Site" link at the bottom doesn't work.

It still feels like a cheap knockoff of Flipboard, and I don't need a Flipboard knockoff for every blog I read on my iPad. The iPad display is big enough not to need a special layout, and finding a poorly-implemented one like this just frustrates me.


I'm excited by OnSwipe's potential and I'm optimistic they're going to get it right eventually. For me, the biggest problem has been that OnSwipe makes no attempt to handle URLs correctly. URLs from the desktop version redirect to the TOC on iPad. When you visit articles on the iPad, the URL bar is not updated, so you can't even bookmark or share what you're looking at. Once they get this right, I think a lot of the grief expressed on HN will fade away.


I think this market is looking for a competitor. OnSwipe is like the minimal thing you can do for mobile viewing of content.

There is such a huge room for improvement:

1. making content more readable. Right now the readability is still about the same as visiting a regular site.

2. Faster - I cant help but feel that everytime I go to an onswipe site, safari-ipad starts becoming immesely slow.

3. Easier to browse content - Onswipe shows like 4 posts on eage page and you have to flip through a bunch of pages if you want to get an overiew of the blog, its frequecy and content covered.

4. variety of look/feel - Every onswipe blog looks and feels the same. I for one hate this. I think its just easier for my brain to classify information if it also has a certain type of look.

Onswipe is the market pioneer and they are gonna make mistakes.

In anycase I think this space should be able to easily support at least 3-4 different companies.


Wow. This is actually useful feedback.


The problem is, people think they have to adapt for non-pc devices (read: mobile). The rub is, the mobile browsers are good.

Build a clean and fast site. You'll be fine.


Are you sure mobile browsers are good at viewing desktop-aimed content?

I'm considering auto-resizing (fluid) for simple content like cssgrid.net because some placements will break or look weird. Would this be a problem for mobile browsers?


Quite. Mobile Webkit-based browsers were a joy to use long before we had responsive design. I'm not saying responsive design is a bad thing, though I'm not on the bandwagon because mobile browsers handle most websites with aplomb.

OnSwipe is definitely not responsive design -- it's changing the behavior of a site for specific a devices which already have wonderful natural web UX interactions.


+1


From Jason's recent tweet:

"...were doing way more than iOS. The criticism on HN is from a small disconnected minority."

Disconnect minority??

http://twitter.com/#!/JasonLBaptiste/statuses/85387519486726...


It's like when the Experts Exchange guys talk, and they sound like exactly what you would expect based on the product they make.


This is the first I've ever heard of OnSwipe. I went to onswipe.com to see what the fuss was about, and couldn't find anything that gave me a clear idea as to what it actually looks like. That content might be on the "onswipe for..." pages, but they don't even render for me; all I get is the word "cover" on a little swoopy thing in one corner and a gear icon in another corner (FireFox 5.0 on Win7). I eventually gave up and used google to find a video comparison.

It does not instill confidence in a product intended to make content beautiful and readable when using onswipe.com itself is an exercise in frustration.


I think OnSwipe on my iPad is an awful experience. I would do away with it wherever I see it, if I could. I am sorry the developers' feelings may be hurt but a bad UI/UX is bad regardless of the effort.


Maybe the problem isn't so much OnSwipe so much as WordPress itself? Once upon a time what made WordPress cool was its simplicity — easy to install, easy to run, easy to add stuff to, etc. These days I cringe at the thought of doing an upgrade — it's as if they lost focus once they got into the hosting biz. Why make a great product when you can sell VIP service instead? It feels like everything I hated about Movable Type back in the day.

Maybe OnSwipe is a sign that there's room to replace WordPress in the marketplace?


OnSwipe is only on WordPress.com, not WordPress, and WP.com is only one hosting service.


I'm late to the party, but I also dislike OnSwipe. The scrolling is terrible, I can't zoom at all and sometimes it crashes Safari. Even worse, the 'standard site' link on the WordPress theme is at the bottom of the page. It should be at the top.

Hopefully someone will create an 'unswipe' bookmarklet that we can use to disable it on sites that don't have an opt-out. Add me to the list of people that would like a global opt-out.

If your site uses OnSwipe and I can't disable it, I'll find content somewhere else.


I went to Geek.com with Safari and changed my user agent to iPad.

Watch the infinite redirects ensue. I sure hope the real iPad users aren't seeing that.


How do I even test OnSwipe?


I think it's enabled on every wordpress.COM blog by default.




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